Stripes for Spring

As spring/summer edges closer, now is the time to start considering new-season style. Enthral passers-by with entrancing super-sized stripes, whether they be vertical, horizontal, or a mix-match of both.

The new collections are zinging with seafaring stripes of all shapes and sizes – for all shapes and sizes. Horizontal, vertical, on ribbed jerseys, billowing silks, for night, for day, and layered too. The simplest ideas are always the best. Dip a toe into this trend: try a Breton tee worn under a crisp white shirt. Consider it a fresh start to the new season.

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Dolce & Gabbana

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Jonathan Saunders

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Stella McCartney

Spring/Summer 2015 Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane dedicated his spring collection to his late professor, mentor and friend, Louise Wilson OBE. He recently discovered a box of photos that date back to his time on the MA course at Saint Martins. It was a whole load of snapshots of his sister, Tammy trying on his early designs, those that he created out of his bedroom.

Kane said he is where he is today because of that MA course, and because of Wilson.

This is a designer who has no shortage of ideas, they all buzz around his head like a twinkling constellation before he whittles them down to a condensed seed of genius. This season he went right back to those early ideas and to those pieces that were never shown or developed. His starting point was cord, rope and coils, which he embroidered onto dresses or threaded through hemlines and cuffs as drawstring details on terrifically modern silk skirt suits.

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The collection developed into a series of silk dresses that erupted here and there with flutes of tulle, he called them “controlled explosion dresses.” Then came those boasting tumbling panels of silk georgette, which were anchored down into place with shiny silver bars, while others had exposed boning and stemmed from Kane’s original drawings that went back to his college days.

The palette was explained as ‘back to school,’ inspired by the Bordeaux of the designer’s school uniform and it did feel wintery, and more than a little subdued – yes, in part to his tribute to Wilson, but also Christopher Kane has, in recent seasons rewired his brain towards a more commercial leaning. With his flagship store set to open on Mount Street early next year, he’s right to think about what he’s going to fill it with. This will be the collection that he will open those shop doors with.

Many of the things that Kane showed here this afternoon are born of ideas he had originally discarded, or simply ideas that he didn’t have the time or inclination back then to further explore. One can’t help but wonder about what else he has lurking in hidden boxes, on the pages of old sketch books; at the back of that wonderful, creative mind.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Loewe

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If J.W. Anderson’s own collection in London was surprisingly, pleasingly straightforward, his catwalk debut at Loewe suggested why. All that wayward J.W. action had gone south, to Loewe’s headquarters in sunny Spain. Yes, sunny. Instead of the somewhat heavy, leathery Loewe those who know the brand might be familiar with, there were the Balearic lightness and sensuality that Anderson began to explore with his men’s collection for the house. At first glace, the Isamu Noguchi garden at the UNESCO building where the show was staged might have seemed the very antithesis of those notions. But step back, check the sculptural stones and benches, and you could have been in the rocky fabulosity of Formentera. And that’s where Anderson was taking us, to somewhere physical and primal. A sheath in the honey-toned suede Loewe calls “oro” was decked with random applications of hide, a 21st-century Wilma Flintstone. Right behind it, something black, bowed at the waist, with a handful of suede samples dangling from its yoke. Precision and chaos—the kind of dialogue Anderson cherishes in his work.

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The primal, organic nature of the collection asserted itself in the knots of a cotton tank laid over a navy skirt with brutal diagonal slashes, or in a raw silk knit tank over huge white linen pants. There was an appealingly wayward imprecision to such pieces. But the other half of the collection was something else altogether: high-waisted leather trousers in a rainbow of colors, tied judo-style at the waist. Anderson had imagined them crisscrossing on his complex set in a pleasurable blur. He wasn’t wrong. And their leatheriness underscored just why Loewe makes such an appropriate, if peculiar, fit for Anderson. He is fascinated by skin. Here, there was a trench in oro that was simply gorgeous. Less so, the latex tees perversely printed with a game-bird graphic from the Loewe archive. But, as Anderson pointed out, that was a kind of skin, too.Spring.Summer 2015 Loewe 5Spring.Summer 2015 Loewe 4




Spring/Summer 2015 Issa London

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PREVIOUSLY straightforwardly pretty, Issa has experienced a fashion revolution since former Chloe designer Blue Farrier took the helm in 2013. With print at the forefront of her new vision, Farrier’s “balancing act” – between surprising and delighting fashion fans while still keeping the loyal Issa customer happy – continued today in confident style. The label’s signature “fit-and-flare” dresses – so beloved of the Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her sister, Pippa, as well as the label’s owner Camilla Al Fayed and her stylish gang of friends – were still present alongside plenty of loose, wearable separates and dresses to keep the fashion girls happy.

“The keyword for us this season was movement,” Farrier explained backstage following the show – held on the South Bank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. “We were inspired by Pop Art prints, but I really wanted to find a way to do it that was interesting and new. We looked to new fabric techniques and of course the prints for that – adding texture and contrast as well as colour.”

With a clear evolution, the offering began with a graphic “wobble” – a softer manifestation of last season’s zig-zag – transforming into horses as the collection progressed, before the equine prints evolved too, from abstract to more classical. A palette-cleansing black, white and cream palette softly introduced peach before the show’s middle section – the jam in the collection’s sandwich, if you will – burst forth in apricot and raspberry hues. The closing third took Farrier’s excitement about texture to new levels – with hand-painted organza flowers appliquéd on to sheer iridescent silks; heat-bonded prints joining the draped jersey that is the label’s bread and butter to pleated silks without so much as a stitch; and chunky fisherman crochet (1,200 metres in one dress alone to be exact) reimagining florals with verve and wit.

“The DNA of Issa is still very much here,” Farrier was careful to note, “we’re just giving it a new point of view.”

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